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Future Proof Yourself

Future Proof Yourself


Think about this for a second. How are you going to sabotage your practice in the future?

What excuses will you use to skip a practice session?

Kevin Kruse put together a list of things that highly successful people do. One item on Kruse’s list stuck out:

“Your future self can’t be trusted. That’s because we are ‘time inconsistent.’ We buy veggies today because we think we’ll eat healthy salads all week; then we throw out green rotting mush in the future. I bought P90x because I think I’m going to start exercising vigorously and yet the box sits unopened one year later. What can you do now to make sure your future self does the right thing? Anticipate how you will self-sabotage in the future, and come up with a solution to defeat your future self.”

Think about that in terms of excuses that you have made to skip a practice session. Here’s a case study of my excuses.

No Energy: It’s the end of the workday and I’m beat. I’ve been dealing with corporate BS all day, I’ve been spinning my wheels. I’m tired, I’m frustrated. I’ll just lay down and take a nap.

Solution: Do things that will increase energy.

  • Get a full night’s sleep.
  • Don’t skip any meals and eat a healthy, balanced meal.
  • If a task at work is roadblocked, set it aside and do something else. Don’t invest in frustration.

Practice disturbs the neighbors: I travel a lot, A LOT, for work. When I get back to the hotel at the end of the day, I can’t practice on the full pipes because it would be too loud and disturb the neighbors. Likewise, the practice chanter is loud and disturbs the neighbors.

Solution: Create a quieter practice chanter reed by wrapping the reed in felt. Test it against a decibel meter; make sure that it does not create noise that is louder than normal human conversation.

Scout practice locations prior to travel. Parks, parking lots, open fields are good spots to practice. If it is too cold to practice on the full pipes outside, find a place where you can practice indoors. Often the worksite will have a room that I can use after hours.

I’ll watch TV: Think about this for a second.

Solution: When is the last time that you saw a TV program that changed your life? This applies to surfing the net as well. TV and surfing have their time and place. Assume that you have skipped one hour, daily, practice sessions over a ten day period in favor of watching TV. Think back on those times when you did, without fail, have ten good one-hour practice sessions over a ten day period. Now compare that against what your learned while watching TV for one hour each day over a ten day period.

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Mark Olson Mark Olson is a software engineer in Omaha, NE. Over the years, he has played numerous musical instruments including the bagpipes, guitar, piano, flute, and saxophone. As a young man, Mark competed as a solo piper. Due to the demands of raising a family, Mark had to forgo his musical pursuits. While he regrets the fact he gave up the bagpipes, he is proud of the fact that both of his sons have grown to be fine young men. With the nest now empty, he has picked up the pipes once again. If he gets his chops, and his groove, back, he plans to compete again as a solo piper.